KSU’s winning double-team ‘wall’ defense got more than 24,000 views on Twitter

I keep thinking about the defensive play that coach Todd Starkey called to win Sunday’s game.

The Flashes sent two long-armed players to guard an inbound pass in the corner with seven seconds to go. Freshman guard Katie Shumate tipped the ball, senior Megan Carter grabbed it out of the air and sank the winning layup.

If you’re one of the few people who hasn’t seen the play, here it is again. (I saw one retweet Monday with more than 24,000 views.

Start with the double-team in the upper left.

Special circumstances made the play work.

1. Shumate had tipped a previous pass out of bounds. The referees spent a long time at the scorer’s table making sure Robert Morris was indeed supposed to get the basketball.

2. That gave Starkey time to devise and set up the defense. The Flashes otherwise were out of timeouts.

3. Robert Morris also was out of timeouts. So when 5-8 guard Isabella Posset looked at the two-person wall of Shumate and Lindsey Thall, she saw a defense she almost certainly had never seen before. All she could do was to try to do the best she could.

4.  One way the beat the defense would be for a RMU player to break down the court and for Posset to throw the ball high in the air to her. Even if KSU were to come up with the ball, the clock would be ticking with seconds to play and no timeouts.

5. But Kent State had just cut the Colonials’ lead to one point in a furious comeback. Adrenaline was running high. And the RMU guard had five seconds to figure out what to do.

The play got a lot of national attention. Here’s a tweet from ESPN’s Debbie Antonelli, one of the top broadcast analysts of women’s basketball.


Here’s full story on KSU’s 82-81 victory


Notes

Kent State redshirt senior guard Megan Carter is seven points away from becoming the Flashes’ 22nd 1,000-point scorer. She’ll get her chance when KSU plays  St. Bonaventure at the M.A.C. Center at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Kent State had won two games at Robert Morris in the last two years. The Colonials had scored a total of 77 points. They scored 81 in Kent Saturday.

Robert Morris is known as defensive team — so much so that coach Charlie Buscaglia had gone 21-0 when his team scored at least 70 points. It’s now 21-1.

Starkey on Robert Morris: “That’s a really good basketball team that we just found a way to beat. They’re very well coached and they played very hard. There’s a reason why they’re the consensus picks a win the lead their league.

Buscaglia, who has a 71-33 record and three conference championship in three-plus season,  got a three-year contract extension last week. He had become in 2016 head coach when his father, Sal, retired in 2016 after 13 years in charge.

Robert Morris senior center Nneka Ezeigbo scored her 1,000th point against KSU in the first quarter. She now has 1,015.

 

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